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  • Adult Learning

Herzl on the Couch with TBE Online

  • Wednesday, January 13
  • 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
  • Fee: $40.00
  • Program Leader: Rabbi Rich Kirschen
Herzl on the Couch: Because behind every ideology lies a psychology.

Rabbi Sisenwine joins Israeli teacher and dear friend Rabbi Rich Kirschen for an opportunity to look at Israeli society through a psychological lens, utilizing ancient and modern Jewish texts. Rabbi Kirschen has lived in Jerusalem for the past 15 years after serving Hillels at Brown University and the University of Michigan.

Why Herzl on the Couch?
When discussing Israel, the political, the religious, or even the cultural often take precedence when trying to understand the complexity of the Jewish State. Yet, what is often overlooked are the psychological underpinnings of this old/new land and its challenges. By examining the shock of exile, the trauma of homelessness, and the chaos of return to the historic homeland, people gain an invaluable opportunity for a deeper understanding of Israel and the Israeli psyche. In essence, through a psychoanalytic lens people can begin to understand why Israelis behave the way they do.

Session 1 (January 6)
Reaction Formation: King David, Groucho Marx and Moshe Dayan Walk into a Bar….How do we understand the image of the Jewish male? And what defines Jewish masculinity? Through both ancient and modern texts along with film clips we will discuss the transformation of Jewish male role models and their connection to power and powerlessness.

Session 2 (January 13)
We Are All Individuals!!!  Psychoanalytic Theory & Jewish Public Culture
In Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, he believed that the unconscious mind continues to influence behavior even though people are unaware of the underlying influences. This model is not only true for how we conduct ourselves as individuals, but how we function in a public culture.  This is an opportunity to decode the conscious and unconscious messages of “Jewish public culture” and how this functions both in Israel and America.

Session 3 (January 27)
Reform Judaism Vs. Zionism: Neurotic Symptoms and Intrapsychic Conflict
Freudian and other psychodynamic theories view neurotic symptoms arising from the inner conflict of two compelling desires or needs. Since 1789 and the French Revolution, Jews have been arguing about how to assimilate into the dominant society, while at the same time trying to preserve their Jewish identity. In many ways our different Jewish reactions to Modernity ranging from Reform Judaism to Zionism are simply like neurotic symptoms that arise in light of every complicated psychological conflict.  Sometimes we need Herzl and sometimes we need Freud…come discuss.

Session 4 (February 3)
Trauma, West Bank Settlers, and the Hastening of the Messiah
In 1973, the shock of the Yom Kippur War and the trauma of the possible annihilation of Israel shook the country to its core. Israelis reacted to this crisis with diametrically opposed approaches. While some Israelis felt that peace was more important than ever before, a small but dedicated group felt that now was the chance for the other Zionism—the Zionism of redemption or the hastening of the Messiah—to have its day. According to these religious Zionist settlers, the goal of this Zionism was being a holy people living in the entire Land of Israel (IE the West Bank and Gaza). Come learn about the most contested issue that continues to tear into the fabric of Israeli society.

Dates: January 6, 13, 27 & Feb 3

Registration: This event will take place through a video conference call. Pre-registration is required. Please complete the registration form below. Once you have registered, your unique access link will be emailed to you. If you’re new to Zoom, watch a tutorial or read written instructions on how to join a Zoom video call.

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